LeBron James is one of the best players of all time. He is an NBA champion who currently plays with two all-stars and a cast of great shooters.
Yet, LeBron is not satisfied. He says the Cavaliers need another playmaker.
What can we learn from this?
Every team, no matter how good, has a spot for a playmaker—a player who can create offense for themselves and their teammates.
When you look at most NBA teams, they don’t have many effective playmakers. For example, James Harden is the engine of the Houston Rockets offense, and there is a huge drop in his teammates’ production when he isn’t on the floor. The same can be said for Russell Westbrook and his OKC Thunder, and Steph Curry and the Warriors.
How can these NBA rosters with high-paid, professional athletes be so lacking in playmaking?
Like most basketball players, they weren’t taught playmaking skills. They were taught to shoot, dribble, drive, and pass. But, these are not the skills of a playmaker.
What else is there?
The fact that this is even a question proves the lack of emphasis on playmaking skills.
Three skills good PLAYMAKER possess
A good playmaker is a master of these under-taught basketball skills:
You can’t read a defense you can’t see. Most players are narrow with their vision and are surprised when their first option is taken away. Playmakers are rarely caught by surprise.
Basketball is a series of split-second decisions. There are countless variables, as well as a hierarchy of good, better and best decisions. Being prepared for the reads you’ll have to make is the product of: i) watching games like a student of the game, not a fan of the game; ii) reviewing your games on video whenever possible; iii) practicing on your own using visualization and your imagination.
3. Thinking the Game
Playmakers are able to think the game. This is far different than just playing the game. Chances are, you’ve been a victim of spending countless hours honing your skills to play the game, without spending time discovering how to think the game.
How do I plan to attack this defense?
How do I play when I don’t have my A game?
How do I play against a more athletic defender?
How do I play with a size advantage?
What is our best shot and how do I generate that shot?
The best playmakers in the game continually create advantages for themselves and their teammates. They have vision, create options, and decide in an instant which option is best. They seem to do this with little to no effort because they’ve been trained to think the game.
As a result, great playmakers tip the balance of power in their team’s favor, which is why LeBron wants more of them.
To be clear, shooting, passing, dribbling and driving skills are critical components of the game. These skills might even get you noticed. What makes you unstoppable though—even indispensable—is when you become the ultimate playmaker.
Not sure how?
THINK THE GAME
Join PGC Basketball and discover how to become a playmaker, lead your team, and run the show.
Most players rush, make poor passes, and take bad shots — good playmakers make smart decisions even at game speed.
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PGC Basketball provides intense, no-nonsense basketball training for players and coaches. Our basketball camps are designed to teach players of all positions to play smart basketball, be coaches on the court, and be leaders in practices, games and in everyday life.
We combine our unique PGC culture with a variety of teaching methods and learning environments to maximize the learning potential of those that attend our sessions. In addition to spending 6-7 hours on the court each day, lessons will be reinforced through classroom sessions and video analysis.
Our goal at PGC is to empower you with the tools to fulfill your basketball dreams, while also assisting you in experiencing the joy of the journey.